Hive Location in the burbs

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by pnKroK, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. pnKroK

    pnKroK New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello,

    I did a quick search and didn't really quite find the answer that I was looking for so I thought I'd post.

    First of all I'll give some background.

    I’ve been interested in beekeeping for some time now and never really considered it to be an option because I either didn’t have a place for bees or I didn’t really realize that it was an option for me. I am considering starting my first hive and I have a question that I’m sure everyone has asked at some point in time. I live in Delta, BC (a suburb of Vancouver, BC) and I live in a typical suburban area. I believe my lot dimensions are about 100’X55’. My backyard is terraced as you can see from the pictures. I have now removed all the ivy that was grown over the back upper terraced area. I was considering putting my hive near the back fence of my yard. This will ensure that the hive is as far from any house in the immediate vicinity. The pictures don’t really give a great idea of my area, but the big pine tree in the first picture has a huge open area underneath it. The distance between my back door and the back fence is roughly 35’. My main concerns is that I don’t want bees flying all over my neighbors yards which would make me quite un-popular and just kinda kill the whole adventure of keeping bees. Of course I realize that the bees will visit other yards for flowers and such. But I guess my concern is that the bees will constantly be flying in and out of the hive and I don’t want my neighbors constantly having bees flying around their heads. I’ve done some reading and it seems that the bees don’t really hassle anyone unless you decide to mess with them. Apparently they’re quite docile and un-intrusive. From what I understand the bees first fly up and then in a direction, which brings me to my next question. Since I’ll plan to have the hive under the big pine tree, that doesn’t really give the bees much room to fly up and away. Will they just navigate their way through the branches and then make their way to other yards? Or will they beeline (sorry for the pun) it straight towards a house and look for the nearest window to find the open jar of jam left on a kitchen table? I know that might seem ridiculous…but you know how people are.
    Should I just kinda give up the idea and find a friend with a big yard and some patience for my hobby?

    Thanks in advance,

    -rob C 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg
     
  2. The Mongo

    The Mongo New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey there,

    I live in Washington State so we have similar climates. I'm no expert but I can tell you from personal experience with all the overcast days and rain that we get, my bees did not do well under the cover and shade of trees. Bees come out to work when the sun is up, and when you leave a hive in the shade, they tend to do less work and you have more issues with mildew and ventilation. The bees will find their way to wherever you put the hive because they navigate by the sun so I wouldn't worry about tree limbs being in the way, but I wouldn't have too much directly in front of the hive because they like to have a clear flight path. Last year I had one hive in the shade and one hive on a flat section of my roof of my house. The one on the roof, in full sun, way outperformed the other hive.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    To be of minimal trouble to your neighbors, you want to give your hive a clear path in front of it. The bees will come shooting out of the hive to forage- they'll go straight out about 6 feet, then they'll want to shoot up into the sky to go for miles in all directions to forage.
    Best to let your bees come out of the hive and shoot up into the sky rather than have branches there that force them to navigate around at head level to get to the sky. Let your bees have a straight path up and out, they'll quickly fly way above human level.
    I'll also repeat what others say- a shady spot is not good. Put the hive in the sun and give them a clear path in front of the hive....they won't bother much with the neighbor's yard unless there's a swimming pool to drink at. Our yards are 'small potatoes' to the thousands of bees in a hive...they'll mostly be looking for bigger food sources further afield. Don't put obstacles between the bees and their path straight up and out into the sky. :)
     
  4. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Welcome to the forum pnKrok!
    The proper location for a hive is very important. For best results your will want to place your hives in as much sunlight as possible with their entrance facing South or East. I see you have a privacy fence. That's good because your neighbors may not even know that you have a bee hive(s). The fence will allow the bees to go upward when they leave the hive. I too live in an urban setting. My bees do not bother any of my neighbors. The neighbor, closest to the hives, hosts backyard parties with volleyball and horseshoes going on without problem. I did ask each neighbor if they cared before I got my first hives. In return, when I can, they each get honey at Christmas. This makes for happy neighbors.

    A water source might be a concern. Bees sometimes find they like the neighbors swimming pool instead of a water source you think they will like.

    Overall, bees tend to overlook nectar and water sources that are in their immediate area and go for something that is farther away. Also, the only time I have had bees get testy is after I have removed honey supers or done a split. Sometimes if they are queenless they can be testy then too.

    Might I suggest, if you know of someone in the vicinity that keeps bees, you become acquainted with them and their operation. Otherwise, you have found a good source for answers.
     
  5. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Addendum: I forgot to mention that I only have a 4ft. chain link fence surrounding my yard.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi pnKroK and Welcome to our friendly beekeeping community. :hi:

    A couple of things:
    First, the advice you have already been given is great.
    Second, having moved from BC (Burnaby) to NS I know a little about your area. We have some forum members here near you. A great place to pick up good information (after here of course) :oops: would be to join a beekeeping club, and there is a great one in your neighbourhood. The Surrey Beekeepers Association, club president Donny Carter, was a mentor to me. He took the Simon Fraser Master Beekeeping course taught by Mark Winston. This was a great club (wish we had one here) and you will undoubtably meet like minded folks there.
    Feel free to ask questions here, there are a lot of great bee minds here only too willing to help out.
    One last thing, you may want to be a little more specific on your profile as to location, say, Delta BC instead of Canada. It will help those people who wish to offer advice if they know more about the climactic conditions in your area.
    Glad to have you aboard. :thumbsup:
     
  7. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Welcome to the friendliest bee forum around. You have found the best place to hang out when you turn your computer on.
    To echo the advice you've already been given, having a hive in shade all day long is not a good thing. Don't give up on the idea of beekeeping, there are many members of this forum that are urban beekeepers. Go back and read some of the older posts. Also, I would advise starting with at least 2 hives, that way you have some comparison.
    Again, Welcome. You'll find this a very addicting hobby.:hi:
     
  8. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Welcome (from a fellow B.C. beek). I have a very similar situation to yours. 1/2 acre city lot. Across the back lane there is a child care facility with a playground. Since I did not want there to be any conflict I put my hive in the garden shed, with an entry slot cut out and a landing board facing the morning sun. In front of the entrance I put a 4 foot by 4 foot, 6 foot high cedar trellice. The trellice does not block light, but the bees don't fly through it. They start their flight by shooting straight up. by the time they level out, up and over the trellice or the shed roof they are about 8 feet up and out of human space. This has worked incredibly well for me, I can stand right beside the hive and no bees even come close. bees will go after water sources and humming bird feeders, but seem to leave other sweet stuff alone (unlike wasps) Consider putting your hive on your roof or a patio too.
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Welcome to the forum pnKrok, glad to have you with us. :hi:
    You asked solid and clear questions and got solid advice from all those who answered above. We all wish you well on your way to being a beekeeper. :thumbsup:
    Suggestion: study as much as you can over the next several months and make preparations (building equipment, painting, etc.) until the coming of next spring. It's too late in the season to start a hive. Bees require patience and long term planning. The winter is their hardest season up where you are and they have to have adequate stores of honey to make it through the winter cold.
    As to your fears for neighborls, it's highly unlikely that your bees will bother them. Flowers and nectar are much more attractive than jam and the free spaces of the outdoors more desirable than the confines of someone's kitchen or dining room.
     
  10. pnKroK

    pnKroK New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    WOW! First of all, thanks for all the lengthy replies. Its re-assuring to know that there is such a resourceful and mature knowledge base on this site.

    After thinking about it for a while, I thought about my front yard and the potential there. Again, my front yard is terraced which would be good for deterring potential vandalism of a beehive. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but I can just see teens throwing rocks at the hive on a summers eve for kicks. I can tuck the hive away in the corner by a tree that will help block it from street view, but not over-hang the hive and cause too much of a shade issue. The front yard also faces south and gets a lot of sun and would be much more suitable in the sense that there isn’t much in the way, the bees will have a clear runway for take-off. I have again…added a picture of the front yard from the road. On the left hand side is a birch tree that has grown significantly and will offer privacy to the hive from the street.

    PerryBee: I’ll definitely contact the Surrey beekeepers Association and see if I can meet up with some people for some hands-on experience. Thanks for that info, I’ll update my profile to be more specific.

    I’m planning on getting supplies and something built over this fall/winter so that I’m ready for my first hive this coming spring. Any suggestions on a good place to buy deeps (un-assembled…I don’t want to take the fun out of putting together deeps by buying pre-assembled equipment)?

    The next part is convincing the wife to allow me to have a beehive in the front yard. Which shouldn’t be too much of an issue since we don’t use the front yard much.

    Efmesch: I’m not too sure if the winters here are too harsh compared to other areas of Canada. I live on the coast where the winters are quite mild, we do get snow on occasion but the temperatures rarely dip below freezing (compared to other parts of Canada where the temperature drops below zero (degrees celcius) for months). I am aware though that colder temperatures do require more stores of honey for the bees, so I will try to make sure they are ready for our winter. I don’t plan to start until next spring, so as long as it’s a good season for my first hive then they should be ready for the winter.

    My only major concern is that its quite damp here on the coast, it rains A LOT! Its possible for it to rain constantly for a month (its happened…trust me). So mildew and mold could be an issue I would imagine? Should I consider building a secondary roof for the hive to help alleviate with rain shedding?

    Thanks again,

    -rob C front.JPG
     
  11. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    you can get your supplies from here:
    [h=1]West Coast Bee Supply Ltd[/h] Rear-9351 No. 6 Rd, Richmond, BC V6W 1E5 Directions 604-272-1921

    Our government also has some excellent resources at: www.[B]agf.gov.bc.ca[/B]/apiculture

    I order my stuff from Beemaid in alberta or build it from plans on the internet.

    As for winter stores, bees actually use less stores at very cold temperatures than moderately cold ones. It is the overall length of the winter that is the main difference in colony storage requirements.

    your front yard looks great for a hive.
     
  12. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0